Injury unit to re-open overnight

PUBLISHED: 12:40 11 March 2008 | UPDATED: 21:36 15 June 2010

THE minor injury unit at Honiton Community Hospital is likely to re-open overnight on March 21 following a training exercise with ward staff.

THE minor injury unit at Honiton Community Hospital is likely to re-open overnight on March 21 following a training exercise with ward staff.Hospital manager Les Hickman, addressing Honiton Town Council on Monday, admitted the overnight service had been withdrawn suddenly but revealed it was due to a unique staffing pattern in Honiton and not a decisive plan to scrap the service.He said the unit was being run in two parts - by dedicated staff during the day and ward staff during the night.Following a review, it was decided that ward staff, although highly trained, needed further training to ensure best clinical practice.It was decided by Devon Primary Care Trust to shut the unit overnight while training was delivered.When asked by Councillor Alf Boom if agency staff could have run the out-of-hours service in the meantime, Mr Hickman said 'No'. Staff with the necessary skills are hard to come by, he claimed.Deirdre Molloy, a consultant nurse who carried out the review at Honiton, said: "The first thing that came to light was that it was staffed quite differently."Ward staff had been expected to come out and treat people with minor injuries. The skill level wasn't the same in the night as in the day."Training was now nearing completion and a 'target date' for the overnight re-opening of the unit has been set for March 21.A statement, issued to the Press by Devon Primary Care Trust's communications department, came under fire.Councillor Vernon Whitlock, the Mayor of Honiton, said he was concerned to read that the overnight service is constantly under review. He sought a reassurance that this was not the case. Mr Hickman said he was unaware of any intention to shut the unit overnight.Councillor Alf Boom said he felt "bemused". He is a member of the Local Health and Care Team for the hospital and stressed the issues raised by Mr Hickman had never been put before the committee."We've been through all this before and here we are again," he said, referring to the overnight closure.Councillor Peter Halse said Honiton was "jealous" of maintaining its hospital facilities."People are very concerned that it may be closed or facilities withdrawn," he told the meeting, pointing out the efforts that had gone into securing a new hospital for Honiton at a time when its former building was under threat.Councillor Halse revealed his grandchild was recently rushed to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital in the middle of the night following an asthma attack."He could have died," said Councillor Halse. "We want to work with you; we are not just throwing brickbats.

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